So, this is usually the part where if the book was terrible, I still tell you all how despite the fact that this book was The Worst, I still I love you and how that I was duty-bound to read and report on it is evidence of my devotion? Well, this week I choke on those words! I kind of totally hate you all for getting me into this terrible book that makes no sense and large sections of which are told from the POINT OF VIEW OF THE DOG! GAH!
Background: As the title indicates, this is a First Love From Silhouette A Carey And Kellogg Story, which means that there were other volumes preceding this one that concerned themselves with Carey and Kellogg. Do you think you can just pick up a Carey and Kellogg Story in the middle and have any idea what is going on? What do you think this is, Sweet Valley High? No! This is more like Sweet Valley University Thriller Edition #13 CyberStalker: The Return of William White Part I. If you haven’t been reading the Sweet Valley University Thriller Editions, you really have no business jumping in at the point where William White is returning as a CyberStalker! You will not EVEN be adequately prepared for Sweet Valley University Thriller Edition #14 Deadly Terror: The Return of William White Part II!
But I digress.
The author clears things up with a handy chart at the beginning of the book:
MORE ABOUT THE FAMOUS TRIO:
Kellogg Brown: a small-town boy, fair-minded, down-to-earth
Carey Ashton: a rich girl from the big city, a girl with crazy dreams and a quick temper
Theodore: a big shaggy dog, a philosopher
Angelo Caputo: Carey’s streetwise little cousin whose tough talk masks a tender heart
The Plot: There is not so much a plot as there is a bunch of words. My theory is that for the 99-cent titles, they just kept a big vat of word compost in Silhouette First Love Headquarters, where they periodically throw the scrapings edited from other titles. Then, when one of their ghostwriters unexpectedly overdoses or jumps ship for greener pastures (such as a career in TV-VCR Repair), they just scoop up some rich, fermenting literature, ready for publishin’!
This summer in The Hamptons, things seem different between life-long friends Carey and Kellogg:
Carey and Kellogg seemed different, particularly with each other. They didn’t want to pay as much as they used to and they often told Theo to run off by himself.
Oh, did I mention that this tender coming-of-age IS BEING NARRATED AND REMARKED UPON BY THE DOG???
18 year old Carey, who seems to be living alone in her family’s fabulous mansion this summer, has been entrusted by her father with the care of her 14 year old cousin, Angelo, who has been sent to the Hamptons from BROOKLYN, which as depicted in this book is as foreign as the moon. Only the moon with non-stop muggings and gang shootings. Yeah, you don’t even know what life is like on the mean streets. It’s all artisanal Cronuts and stabbings out there.
Angelo’s father has been in prison for the last seven years, and Carey has been charged with keeping this fact from the community, lest they all faint dead away from the shock of having a common criminal’s son in their midst.
Anyway, Carey and Kellogg have to go pick up Angelo at the local LIRR stop:
There, getting off the train was a small, dark boy wrapped in an oversize leather jacket, his eyes hidden behind aviator glasses, his head almost swallowed up in a beat-up airman’s cap.
“Where is the all-male shirtless volleyball court?” he asked.
Ok, not really. But it is way more fun to add your own words as you go along.
I am not making up the fact that Angelo has a pink Mohawk and says stuff like “You look like a Kellogg” and “All this grass is weird”. In short order Angelo makes an enemy of Kellogg by calling him a “yo-yo”. Which must be some kind of BROOKLYN gang-slang.
BUT WHAT ABOUT CAREY AND KELLOGG??? Carey turns to Jefferson, whom we are awkwardly reminded on every page is “the Ashton family’s black cook”. Jefferson feels awkward about having to explain the birds and bees to his employer’s legally-adult aged daughter, and I feel very awkward about having read about it. But at least it is not told from the dog’s point of view.
Kellogg decides to take matters into his own hands and asks Carey out on a date. The evening does not end well:
Kellogg turned, took her in his arms and kissed her right on the lips. Carey’s mind seemed to go blank for a second, exactly the way, when she thought about it later, she might if someone pulled a gun on her in the middle of a department store.
At least that’s what she THINKS. She’s not sure because, you know, her mansion is not a department store in BROOKLYN.
Blah, blah, more contrivances as civilization clashes with BROOKLYN, at some point Angelo gets grounded, and Carey takes pity on him and brings him a tray of food consisting of “fresh muffins, a club sandwich, and chocolate cake”. Holy carb-load, is he training for a half-marathon? Oh, wait he is from BROOKLYN. So, probably.
Angelo grabs Theo and runs away to go live with his Dad, who is set to be released from Sing-Sing any day now. He can just sleep on a cot in the exercise yard until then, right? Carey and Kellogg search the back roads of Lon’giland for him while Jefferson has the unenviable task of checking every gas station on the LIE to see if anyone has seen a boy and dog. Carey and Kellogg drive around in Carey’s car, which is constantly referred to as The Daffodil, which I thought was just a girl-name for a car, but it turns out that it actually refers to the AMC Daffodil, the first “wide small car” marketed to women, built on the Pacer platform and sold exclusively with a standard transmission and an innovative ad campaign designed by Georgia O’Keefe!
Ok, I made that part up too. There is no reason given why Carey’s car is called The Daffodil.
Eventually Jefferson catches up with him in a seedy motel room and makes arrangements for a tearful reunion with his father in the prison visiting room. Because that is something that would totally happen.
Meanwhile Carey and Kellogg have spent the night together in Carey’s fabulous mansion, much to Kellogg’s mother’s consternation. But she decides to adopt both Angelo and his father when he gets out of prison so they can help her run her bed and breakfast when Kellogg goes to college!
Jefferson, can you provide a moral for us all?
“I guess if there is a lesson here,” Jefferson said “It’s that you should be real careful when you get mad at people that you know all the facts. Even when you are sure that you know the facts, chances are there’s some little detail you haven’t heard about.”
Angelo Is a Badass Department: “He wouldn’t admit he wanted strawberries, he vowed, no matter what.”